March 18, 2013
Hamlet's Forbidden Love
Shakespeare's Hamlet has been interpreted in various ways in order to explain the actions of the protagonist, Prince Hamlet. A controversial interpretation of Hamlet's behavior is the Oedipus theory, introduced by Sigmund Freud. The Oedipus complex is when a son has feelings of desire for his mother, and jealousy or anger towards his father. This is evident through language and diction Shakespeare uses in act three scene four, while Hamlet speaks with his mother.
During the conversation with his mother, Gertrude, Hamlet is focusing more on his mother's sex life rather than avenging his father's death. They young prince talks to his mother about her bedroom romances and his disgust for it. Hamlet is very frank, holding nothing back, about his mother's sex life referring to it as, "rank sweat of an enseamed bed, stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love over the nasty sty!" (3.4.92-94), Prince Hamlet believes her bed is desecrated by the act of sex with Claudius. A son should talk about his mother's sex life to her. Hamlet's overstepping the boundaries between a mother and son with his commentary. Crossing this line suggest that he thinks of himself as more than just her son but as a lover.
Hamlet hints to his sexual desire and wish to be more than just a son to his mother multiple times during their encounter. The most notably of these hints is his perplexing line, "And when you are desirous to be blessed, I'll blessing beg of you." (3.4.173-174), this is unusual because he declares that when she wishes to be blessed he will ask her for a blessing. It's as if he is saying "when you need food, I will beg food from you." The keyword used by Hamlet is "blessed." According to the Oxford English Dictionary: Blessed means " Bringing, or accompanied by, blessing or happiness; pleasurable, joyful, blissful." ("Blessed." Def. 4a. Oxford English Dictionary. N.d. Academic Search...